Stephanie Summerow Dumas Candidate for Hamilton County Commissioner

In 2018, Stéphanie Summerow Dumas surprised the political establishment.

She upset outgoing Republican veteran Chris Monzel to become the first black woman to serve as Hamilton County Commissioner.

Dumas hopes to stay. She told The Enquirer on Friday that she was running for re-election.

“We must continue to work as a team,” Dumas said of his two fellow Democratic commissioners, Alicia Reece and Denise Driehaus.

Dumas until Friday had remained silent on his plans for 2022.

She picked up petitions Friday at the Hamilton County Electoral Board to participate in the poll this year.

She said she knew she wanted to run again but didn’t want to distract herself from the county budget process. County commissioners on Thursday chose the council’s organizational structure, including appointing her as council chair for the second year in a row.

She felt that the time had come to launch her re-election campaign.

“It’s time to move on and let people know,” Dumas said. “People have asked.”

His is the only Hamilton County commission seat to be re-elected this year.

No other Democrat has announced plans to challenge Dumas in a primary.

Democrats have held all three county commissioner seats since 2018. Former Cincinnati city councilor Chris Smitherman could change that. He presents himself as an independent.

He is the only other candidate to publicly announce himself for the seat.

She doesn’t worry about a main challenge. She did not hear any names coming forward. But, anyway, she no longer sees herself as the outsider.

“People know what I did. Either they like it or they want a change,” Dumas said. “I am the best candidate.”

Prior to his victory in 2018, Dumas had served as mayor of Forest Park and administrator of the village of Lincoln Heights.

His tenure as Hamilton County Commissioner got off to a tense start. In the first two months, his then chief of staff, Paul Sohi, filed a discrimination complaint against the other two commissioners at the time, alleging a hostile work environment. The state rejected the request and Sohi resigned in January 2020.

Dumas then appointed civil rights leader Bishop Bobby Hilton as his chief of staff. Hilton remains in this position.

Dumas said she plans to tout the county commissioners’ successes in her state of the county address next month; a date has not been set.

At Thursday’s commission meeting, she mentioned some of the highlights of the past year, including the opening of a state-of-the-art criminal lab in Blue Ash for the coroner’s office, a mobile bus for vaccines and the first paid holiday for county employees.

“We have worked, worked as a team to unite, to reach out to our residents in the community,” said Dumas. “We have listened. We have heard you.”

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